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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Jan 23, 2011 6:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

"The music was loud, loud enough that we didn't need ears. We could see and feel the music, it saturated the ballroom...[the Dead] kept hitting climaxes, bursting, sense-tearing climaxes, until on some magic cue they relaxed, dropped back to reality, stringing us along, only to finish with another chain reaction of exploding box cars full of nitroglycerin."
Dennis McNally on the Tour of the Great Northwest


I spent much of last night listening to both sbd.miller.97343 and the bonus tracks from 1/23/68 included on the Road Trips II/2 release. Naturally my mind is completely in tatters. I simply can't comprehend what it must have been like seeing this music performed live in a small ballroom! The performances from this tour have always been among my very favorites. The music swings like it's 1935!

I listen to all of these Quick and Dead tour shows on an almost weekly basis, but I'm no less astonished by how Coltranesque the performances of Clementine sound. HOW COULD THIS BE EARLY '68? How tragic that only four live performances of this song have been preserved!

Personally, I like the Eureka show best of all. The performance in Portland on February 2nd is also extraordinary, and I think the Spanish Jam from 1/22 might be the best ever. But with the seven bonus tracks included on the Road Trips release, 1/23 is just as great and we have the most music.

Judging from the stage banter that preceeds the 22+ minute Viola Lee Blues, it sounds like it was the show opener. It's a raging performance of the song. And while it doesn't quite swing like the 1/20 Violas, it's just at good. It's impossible to say which performance of Clementine is the best, the band was just figureing it out and each rendtion is quite different. They've slowed it down a bit on 1/23, this Clementine is shuffled, but listening last night I couldnt tell if I was listening to the Gratedful Dead or a jazz performance from Sweden in 1963.

I don't think that there can be much doubt about the correct dates of these two Seattle performances, but the mystery still remains about what transpired between January 20-26 in 1968, and how music reels got labeled the 22nd and 23rd.

As far as the Spanish Jam from sbd.miller.97344 being from this performance, it's certainly plausable, perhaps likely even, but it's rather difficult to prove and the theory about reversed stereo image is out there. That would make the Spanish Jam from this performance perhaps as long as 20 or more minutes long.

There is alot to discuss here about 1/23/68. I know there are quite a few heads who feel the same way about the beloved shows from this tour. Though others seem less jazzed by this music. I'm genuinely interested about why some are less impressed by the music from this tour.

Please share your thoughts about this amazing music. What is your favorite performance from this tour?

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1968-01-23.sbd.miller.97343.sbeok.flac16

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jan 23, 2011 8:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

Let's check in with what Phil Lesh has to say in his autobiography:

'The great Northwest tour of '68 got moving right thereafter; we had put together a tight little self-contained module consisting of the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, and Jerry Abrams's Head Lights light show. This was our first real tour, and it was a flaming success from the git-go, in terms of bringing "The Quick and the Dead" to college gyms and city dance halls up and down the coast. I saw us as the Psychedelic Pony Express, bringing the news over the mountains. We weren't yet sure whether the trip would "travel" as they say, but as the cities flew by, we had to admit that yes, the people were coming out in droves, and they were digging it.'

So that says a huge amount in a few words. When Phil Lesh calls it "our first real tour" you can see just how important these shows were! He makes it clear that these shows represent the jumping-off point, the moment where the long strange trip really got rolling into the wider world. He also reminds us that the band was hungry to reach out and connect, that they were excited to share the phenomena of musically expanded consciousness with others. The band is well-rehearsed, self-confident, and eager to deliver compelling performances. During passages like the jam in New Potato, the core instrumentalists Jerry Billy and Phil achieve a kind of sonic fusion that goes beyond listening and responding to each other; they are literally "thinking the music together".

This post was modified by bkidwell on 2011-01-23 16:11:43

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jan 23, 2011 9:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

Every once in awhile I'll daydream a 72' show with a Clementine->Eyes of the World or 73' Let it Grow->Clementine->Other One and bum out that the song never developed further,it seemed to the perfect vehicle for GD style improvisatory exploration.As Cliff stated it had that sweet swing groove,to go with that it had that pretty music/sing-song feel of My Favorite Things,which then could be opened GD/free jazz style.Shame we will never know.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Jan 23, 2011 2:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

Excellent post, thanks for sharing that. You hint at an interesting dynamic. The band members of the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver were pretty close. Not just sharing the bill frequently during 1967-1968, but playing "cowboys and indians" together.

Psychedelic Pony Express:

I'm guessing this was not only a friendly rivalry, with the musicians pushing one another, but perhaps influencing each other as well. The Grateful Dead's music during this tour does have a Quicksilveresque quality to it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0l4qh-aUDY

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jan 23, 2011 5:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

I should really quote the conclusion of the paragraph I quoted from Phil's autobiography:

"The high point was two nights at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, a venue that had been built in the twenties for big-band dancing. It came complete with a flexible, spring-loaded, ball-bearing dance floor. What a blast to dance on that floor, as I did to Quicksilver's music on the first night - one couldn't put a foot wrong."

That really supports your idea that the two bands were listening to each other and inspiring each other - and also gives us Phil's opinion on the best shows of the tour, at least in terms of his personal enjoyment.

As a general note, I cannot describe how much the wealth of primal dead material available from the archive stuns me. When I started listening to the Dead, collecting tapes, going to shows, only a tiny amount of material from before 1969 circulated, and it was hard to acquire without "connections" in the trading scene. I knew that there was great music from the era prior to Live Dead, but it wasn't until the release of Two from the Vault that I realized just how stunning 1968 is. I never dreamed someday I'd be able to effortlessly listen to large amounts of low-gen recordings of the "Quick and the Dead" tour.

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Poster: jjoops Date: Jan 24, 2011 5:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

The great tragedy of the Quick and the Dead tour is that none of the quick sets seem to exist. If anyone could ever find a note of the QMS sets from this tour, please allow me to be first in line to get a copy. This was a major transition period in the too-short run of the pre-Dino QMS, and I'd bet they were just as fired up as the Dead were.

*sigh*

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Jan 23, 2011 7:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

I definitely agree with you that the Eureka show provides some extraordinary moments, like the hallucinatory three minutes of Dark Star at the beginning - madness illuminated by lightning. There's a lot of very jazzy playing, as you say - there are times when I'm wondering how much longer Paul Desmond is going to wait before he starts blowing his sax!

Going to cue up 1-23 now to brighten a dull Sunday afternoon.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jan 23, 2011 7:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

"I spent much of last night listening to both sbd.miller.97343 and the bonus tracks from 1/23/68 included on the Road Trips II/2 release"

All I can add is that I listen to that particular bonus disc so often that I frequently forget it was an "extra". I would have gladly bought it as a single disc release in and of itself. Certainly Jan-Feb 1968 is as unique and exciting as any 2 month period in GD history, and a solid familiarity with the Northwest tour gives one added context with which to hear the remarkable 2-14 show.


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Poster: bbbrew Date: Jan 23, 2011 8:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

"All I can add is that I listen to that particular bonus disc so often that I frequently forget it was an "extra".

Well said. Same here. +1

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jan 23, 2011 7:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

Do we count 1-17-68 in the mix?

I do not have the words to adequately describe my thoughts of this run. I'm not that good a writer and I don't think my brian has (or will ever) processes this music.
My heart can. These are the shows that (and several others) go on top on the mantle piece. These dates " are in the transportation business."(MH) I get high when I listen to this music. Its like eating a mango or some smoked salmon, my body feels it right away, and it feels great.
I am completely in love with Clementine. It's a forgotten shard of the '60's. I have been listening to 1-20-68 nearly every day this month, as I love the feel of that performance. The rest of the show isn't bad either :-)
The GD were a great hydroloic machine punching holes into consciousness and ripping apart perceived reality. The irresistible force. As you know I am a God fearing man and I don't ask him for special favors, but I pray and hope that more of this tour, more 1968 is found before I die. It changes lives and is one of the best testimonies to the power of the Grateful Dead.

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Poster: vapors Date: Jan 23, 2011 9:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

Great write up once again Cliff. I am so glad to be somewhat up to speed today, since last June when you all discussed and debated this I had no clue. Back then I was beginning to work my way through '69, until I realized a proper study of Dark Star should begin in '68. I too have listened to winter/spring '68 numerous times and never tire of doing so.

Before I present my thoughts regarding the cut Spanish jam, I have a silly question about the drumming. There are times (especially the fabulous snare in the Spanish jams) when I swear I can only hear one drummer, so I assumed that Mickey is shaking the maracas, or is my hearing out of whack?

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Jan 23, 2011 2:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

They sound like Rattlesnakes!

I once thought the maracas were being played by Pigpen, however LIA believes it's Mickey and I think he's right.

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Poster: portmcgroin Date: Jan 23, 2011 8:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

Just listened to this for the first time ever and with headphones. I didn't know that 68 could be so beautiful. I knew about the power not the beauty. THANKS

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 24, 2011 1:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH (1968) - Stockholm or Seattle?

>What is your favorite performance from this tour?

Whichever I've listened to most recently, probably. I'm bad that way :-)

I listened to that "1/23" Spanish jam (the re-dating arguments do seem pretty convincing), followed by the 1/27, and 1/27 really does seem to pick up right where "1/23" cuts off. The Spanish jam on 1/17 clocks in at around 15:50; the full 1/27 (if that's the real date of the 1/23-1/27 combo) would be about 17:31. (Plus maybe a bit more, but it kinda sounds like it picks right up to me. Just immediate impression, though.) Anyway, it seems possible. Would it, then, be the longest Spanish jam ever?

Interesting how it's as if, on this tour, they were showing that very GDish (and very human) tendency to be at their best when they were with folks they genuinely cared about impressing. QMS, of course, but also the people who came to see what this GD/SF thing was all about. Hey Tom Banjo, it's time to matter ...


This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-01-24 09:06:11

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-01-24 09:49:17